Info

The Road to Now

In 2006, Bob Crawford (The Avett Brothers) & Dr. Benjamin Sawyer (MTSU History) sat down to talk history in a Detroit coffee shop. Their discussion lasted a couple hours, but the conversation kept going. Join them as they trace the road between past and present with the help of great thinkers from the academy, the media, politics, entertainment and more.
RSS Feed Subscribe in Apple Podcasts
The Road to Now
2020
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2019
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2018
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2017
December
November
October
August
July
April
March
February
January


2016
December
November
October
June
May


Categories

All Episodes
Archives
Categories
Now displaying: 2016
Dec 26, 2016

In episode 36 of The Road to Now, Bob and guest co-host Keith Larson speak with Turner Simkins about his new book Possibilities. Turner tells of the struggles his family went through after his son Brennan was diagnosed with a rare subtype of Leukemia on his 7th birthday, and what they learned as Brennan went from a dismal prognosis to a remarkable recovery. Turner also explains how the inspiration that Brennan took from Band of Brothers inspired him to wake up every day with the will to fight, and shows how the lessons of history can be a powerful force in our everyday lives.

More on this episode and The Road to Now can be found at our website: www.theroadtonow.com.

Dec 18, 2016

Jimmy Carter’s Presidency is one few Americans remember fondly. In a 2013 ranking created by statistician Nate Silver, Carter took the #26 spot, right between William Howard Taft and Calvin Coolidge. The economic crises Carter inherited upon taking office in 1977 plagued his administration, and his perceived weakness in fighting the Cold War only added to the sense of unease created by America’s loss in Vietnam and the Watergate scandal. But is it possible that Americans’ perceptions of Carter don’t match the reality?

Dr. Nancy Mitchell says that’s the case, and she joins Bob and Ben to explain why. She explains Jimmy Carter’s Presidency through the lens of his foreign policy in Africa, and argues that Carter was not an ideologue, but a full-fledged Cold Warrior who was committed to maintaining US influence abroad. Nancy also discusses the legacy of Carter’s Presidency today, and applies her expertise on US Foreign Policy to assess Barack Obama and Donald Trump’s approach to diplomacy.

Dr. Nancy Mitchell is a Professor of US Diplomatic History at North Carolina State University. She has published extensively in her field of expertise, and her most recent book, Jimmy Carter in Africa: Race and the Cold War (Stanford University Press, 2016) recently won the American Academy of Diplomacy’s Douglas Dillon Award for Distinction on the Practice of American Diplomacy.

More on this episode and The Road to Now is available at our website: www.theroadtonow.com

Dec 12, 2016

Tom Shadyac has probably made you laugh. He was the youngest ever staff joke writer for Bob Hope and he directed some of the biggest comedy films in recent memory, including Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and The Nutty Professor. A lot of people would say Tom has “made it.” Tom would disagree.

Tom joins Ben and Bob for a conversation about his life and the path that led him to abandon the pursuit of fame and material abundance to focus on helping others. He tells of his 11 year period of unemployment as he struggled to find success in the Los Angeles comedy scene, his relationship with Jim Carrey, and how following his own passions led him to take a risk with Ace Ventura. Tom also talks of his approach to teaching film, and explains why he defines success as a state of mind.

You can find out more about Tom's story and philosophy in his book Life's Operating Manual and his documentary film I Am (which we highly recommend!).

More on this episode and The Road to Now podcast can be found at our website: www.theroadtonow.com

Dec 5, 2016

There’s a good chance you don’t appreciate how engrained professional wrestling is in American history and culture, and this episode is about to change that. We didn’t know all this either until wrestling legend Jim Cornette was kind enough to spend an hour taking us from wrestling’s origins in the late 19th century up to the sport as it exists today. Jim knows the sport like no other- he’s been part of the professional wrestling scene since the 1970s, and currently hosts the tremendously popular podcast The Jim Cornette Experience. Jim has also been ringside (and sometimes in the ring) for some of wrestling’s greatest moments, including the April 5, 1982 showdown between Andy Kaufman & Jerry “The King” Lawler (that was his first time on national television), and his storytelling is second-to-none.

This episode also features wrestling aficionado Jon Burr making a special appearance as guest co-host. Jon is the host of the NBA podcast Fastbreak Breakfast, the front man for the band How I Became the Bomb, and Ben’s friend & neighbor.

More on this episode and The Road to Now can be found at our website: www.TheRoadToNow.com.

 

Nov 3, 2016

In the second installment of our election week series, Road to Now contributors Matt Negrin & Alex Trowbridge of Bloomberg Politics offer up another round of Path to the Present (the podcast inside a podcast) to explain the role that surrogates have played in Presidential Elections in the past and present. Through their own research and interviews with Donald Trump’s Senior Advisor/Surrogate Boris Epshteyn & Hillary Clinton surrogate/US Congressman Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Matt & Alex discuss what motivates individuals to speak on behalf of a candidate, what we can learn from speaking with surrogates, and what makes a surrogate good (or bad) at their job.

For more on The Road to Now: www.theroadtonow.com 

Oct 9, 2016

Restoring voting rights for Americans convicted of felonies has been a major issue in the last year, most recently in the state of Virginia. According to The Sentencing Project, almost 6 million Americans are prohibited from voting due to laws that take the right to vote away from those convicted of a felony.

To better understand the origins of felon disfranchisement laws, we invited Dr. Pippa Holloway of Middle Tennessee State University to join us for a discussion about her most recent book Living in Infamy: Felon Disfranchisement and the History of American Citizenship. Pippa explains the ways that these laws were developed as a strategy to prevent black Americans from voting in the post-Civil War-era. This strategy was later exported to other states such as Idaho and Hawaii for the purposes of excluding groups whose interests were in opposition to the ruling party. Pippa also discusses the current impediments to Americans’ right to vote, and offers suggestions to ensure that Americans are not denied a voice in our political process. Recorded October 4, 2016 in Nashville, TN w/ Bob via video call from Memphis, TN.

For more on the podcast: www.theroadtonow.com

 

Jun 16, 2016

On this episode of The Road to Now, we speak with Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper about his new memoir The Opposite of Woe: My Life in Beer and Politics and the ways that his peculiar & fascinating life interact with the greater history of our country. Gov. Hickenlooper shares his family history, which he traces back to the earliest settlers of the Pennsylvania colony in the 1680s, and talks about a wide variety of fascinating topics including the urban/rural split in Colorado, the Grateful Dead, and his friendship with Kurt Vonnegut. Gov. Hickenlooper also talks about his years as a geologist, working in real estate, opening Denver's first brew pub, and the value that comes from hanging a light on one's weaknesses in the pursuit of excellence. We hope you enjoy this episode as much as we enjoyed our time with Gov. Hickenlooper. Hosted by Ben Sawyer and Bob Crawford. Recorded June 15, 2016 in the Colorado State Capitol Building in Denver, CO. 

Jun 9, 2016

Tara Houska (Honor the Earth; Native American Affairs Advisor to the Bernie Sanders Campaign) and Dr. Joseph Genetin-Pilawa (Assistant Professor of History at George Mason University) join Bob and Ben to talk about Native American culture and history. They discuss the use of Native American imagery in American popular culture, and link these depictions of American Indians to a long history of discrimination and marginalization in US history. Recorded June 3rd, 2016 on the Campus of George Mason University.

May 19, 2016

Bob Crawford of the Avett Brothers talks to Producer Alexander Trowbridge and Writer Matt Negrin of Bloomberg's "With All Due Respect," which is hosted by "Game Change" authors Mark Halpern and John Heilemann. The show was also recently picked up by MSNBC. They discuss how they got involved with the show, the history of entertainment news, and their take on the rules of politics in the 21st Century. They also discuss the impact of Jon Stewart and the "Daily Show" on the history of the news media. The show begins with a conversation between Bob Crawford and historian/co-host Dr. Benjamin Sawyer of Middle Tennessee State University. Recorded Wednesday, May 11 at Bloomberg Studios in New York City. 

May 19, 2016

In episode 1, Bob Crawford of the Avett Brothers and historian Dr. Benjamin Sawyer of Middle Tennessee State University explain their goals for the Road to Now podcast and attempt to trace the historical roots of the new populism that is reshaping American's political landscape in the lead up to the Presidential Election of 2016. Recorded May 6, 2016 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. 

1